If you are considering filing for a divorce, child custody, pursuing adoption, or have another family law issue in the State of Washington, one of the most daunting tasks is figuring out what it will cost and how you can afford it. You obviously want to get the best representation possible to protect the needs and interests of your family, but you also need to consider simple steps that can help lower your costs. Here are three practical ways to save money on your family law attorney.
An easy way to save time on your family legal fees is simply to be organized. Having all your paperwork in order and doing some of the legwork to research what you can do prior to engaging a lawyer can reduce the amount of “busy work” that they can then bill you for.
Some family law courts offer a free legal clinic where you can get support and advice at no cost. There are also legal aid organizations and nonprofits that offer services at a no or low cost to you. This can be a good starting point to get advice, support, and complete some of that legwork and time-consuming paperwork before you take your files to a lawyer. While free advice is a good starting point, it’s always good to get your full-time lawyer to review your case and legal aid paperwork.
When you are organized and you understand what both you and your lawyer’s responsibilities are, you’ll save time by not picking up the phone every time a question about your case pops into your head. Lawyers charge by the hour, so while they will be willing to pick up the phone and discuss your case with you, they are going to be charging you for that phone time.
Keep a specific notebook for yourself where you can jot down questions, concerns, and important case information as it comes to you, then take the time to organize your thoughts and schedule a call. By consolidating your questions, you’ll get the answers you need more efficiently and affordably. Also know that more basic questions can be answered by a paralegal or receptionist, so before you dial your lawyer’s personal number, call the office line first and see if you can’t get your question answered that way.
Shop Around to save money on your family law attorney
It is worth the investment in time to shop around for lawyers before committing to one legal firm. Most law offices offer a free consultation so that you can ask questions and find out how they can best support you and your family’s needs. A free consultation can also reveal which lawyers you feel comfortable handing your case over to, in addition to which offices can offer services that fit within your budget.
Start by looking for lawyers that specialize in family law. You can waste a lot of time by just scheduling a free consultation with every law firm in town. A free consultation with a lawyer whose experience is in estates and wills is only going to waste your time. Focus on lawyers and law offices that you know will be able to represent your case with the expertise needed to get a satisfactory resolution.
Shopping around also ensures that you can select the most knowledgeable lawyer for your particular legal case. It might be tempting to engage a cheaper lawyer that has a general knowledge of the issue at hand, but not hiring an expert could mean that you are paying a lawyer to spend their time researching or refreshing themselves on the laws applicable to your case. But in the long run, that may ultimately cost more money than a lawyer who charges a higher fee per hour but has the expertise to hit the ground running when preparing and defending your case.
Be responsive, not pushy
When you do select a lawyer, be responsive when they reach out to you. Legal cases can be time consuming, so do your best to respond promptly and give your lawyer as much information as they need. The more responsive and up front you are about providing the information and documentation that they need, the faster they can work for you. A quick response time on your part will only help your case and improve your working relationship with your lawyer.
Trust your lawyer when they say they are working on your case. There may be some downtime in between their communication with you, and it can be all to easy to pick up the phone to call them in a panic. Trust their expertise and know that when there are updates or additional information needed, they will reach out to you right away. Picking up the phone every time you have a concern or want to see if there is an update is not going to help your case in the long run.
Pursuing a legal case that affects your family can be an emotional process. At Torrone Law we are experienced at all aspects of family law and we work with your best interests at heart. We can guide you every step of the way, from a free consultation, to filing your case, to seeing you to a fair and satisfactory resolution. Schedule a free consultation today to find out how we can support you and your family.